With winter just around the corner, women are running to GNC to purchase Biotin, a dietary supplement that claims to help with hair growth & health.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am all about healthy hair, but claims like these are pretty bold and require research. We saw this last year when we investigated the prenatal vitamin hype. My point? There is always gonna be some “vitamin” or “supplement” that claims it can make our hair shoot out of our head like a cannonball, but we REALLY need to gather evidence before we jump on the bandwagon.
What is Biotin?
Biotin (vitamin B-7) is an essential nutrient found in foods such as egg yolks, nuts, and fish. It is also packed into a supplement form that can be purchased virtually anywhere. Biotin is crucial for the growth of our cells – so yes, it can be concluded that without Biotin our hair wouldn’t grow.
Will it increase the growth rate of my hair?
Yes and no. Increasing your Biotin intake is – whether for hair growth or not – an excellent idea. However, just like with prenatal vitamins, Biotin can only help you reach your maximum potential. This meaning, there is a level at which your hair is growing it’s fastest. If you aren’t Biotin deficient, you are probably already at that level and therefore have no room for improvement.
The good news? There is a chance (minus you super healthy mamas out there) that you aren’t getting enough Biotin. So, there is no harm in trying out this supplement!
How do I know if I am Biotin deficient?
One of the easiest ways to tell is to look at your nails. Are they thin or cracked? Are you cuticles a nightmare to look at? (Think before your manicure.) Another way to spot a need for the nutrient, is to pay attention to hair loss. Again, without Biotin hair doesn’t grow. This means, without Biotin, hair can’t stick to your head either.
If Biotin increases my hair growth, will my leg hair grow faster?
According to experts, no. They say the hair on our head is programmed differently than the hair on our bodies. Head hair cells cue strands to continue growing and growing and growing, while the cells on our arms and legs have a signal that tells them to quit growing. (Hence, why you don’t have to shave your arms.)
Okay, I’m gonna try it. How much Biotin should I take?
The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine recommends an AI of 35 mcg of biotin per day for men and women over 19. But before taking Biotin, or any supplement you read about online, talk to your doctor. He or she will be the best judge of whether or not it’s right for you.